Seasonal Businesses in Huron County

Spring has finally arrived, and with the warmer weather many seasonal businesses are opening up for another fun season. Huron County has some really wonderful and iconic seasonal businesses, it will be hard to choose which ones to visit first. So to help get your mind on the warmer days ahead, check out a few seasonal businesses in the highlights below!

Also, you won't even have to wait. There are some seasonal businesses on this list that are already open for business! Feel free to add some of your other favorite seasonal businesses in the comments section below. 

Bay Port Fish Company

Bay Port Fish Company has been a commercial fishery in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay since the early 1840s and was established in 1895. In the 1920s, Bay Port was the largest exporter of freshwater fish in the world. Although it has passed through many owners over the years, it is currently owned and operated by the Williams family.

We reached out to the family to learn more about this iconic seasonal business in the thumb. Here's what we learned:

  • How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
    • The Williams family has always been a fishing family.  When an opportunity arose to be their own bosses and fish for a living, they uprooted their families and moved to Bay Port to fish full time. This year is our 40th year of ownership and fishing. The fishery is now run by Captain Tod Williams and daughter Lakon Williams.
  • What makes your business unique/what do you love most about your business?
    • Our company provides high quality, local fresh, frozen, and smoked fish to the community of Michigan. We enjoy making our customers happy with fish that they enjoy very much. The Fish Docks holds many good memories for our customers and for us. Visiting brings back the good old days for many and they enjoy telling us their stories every time they come in.
  • What do you enjoy most about being a seasonal business in the Thumb?
    • We enjoy being seasonal because it allows us to regroup and come back with new ideas for the Spring. We work 6-7 days a week from April-November, some days being 20+ hours at a farmers market or processing Whitefish. The Winter allows us to refresh and come back to serve the community with our best foot forward.
  • When does your business open for the season?
    • It varies usually. This year was March 23rd, but we tell customers we will always be open by April 1st at the latest. We return to the Detroit Eastern Market and the Ann Arbors Farmers Market the first Saturday in April as well. We start our Port Austin Farmers Market the Saturday of Memorial Weekend. 
  • When does your season typically end?
    • Our Whitefish Season ends November 1st, but if Winter isn't coming right away we can fish the other species we are allowed to catch into the end of November usually. We usually close up at the Fish Docks right before Thanksgiving and end Farmers Markets around Christmastime. 
  • What sort of operations tend to occur throughout your season?
    • We mostly process freshwater fish that is caught in the Great Lakes.  If we catch too much for our account and the community, we ship out to Chicago and New York the excess uncleaned fish.
  • What do you want tourists and potential customers to know about your business? 
    • We are a small family owned and operated business who cares about their customers.  We enjoy customers stopping in to chat about the history or to show the grand-kids the fish and the massive ice room. Hearing back from customers about how great their fish or seafood dinner was is probably the best part. Our Facebook page has been a great place for customers to share meal ideas and brag about whats for dinner. 
  • Are you hiring? Would you like to provide instructions for people to apply?
    • We are always hiring for part-time processing help. Stop in and grab an application, we will call you!

Bay Port Fish Company is located at 1008 1st Street, Bay Port, MI 48720. You can connect with Bay Port Fish Company by visiting their website at bayportfish.com or on their Facebook page Bay Port Fish Co.


Fireside Inn 

Fireside Inn offers a casual dining experience for friends and family. Guests can bring their own friends or make new ones while dining at the Fireside Inn and chatting with their friendly team, as well as enjoying their family arcade. The Fireside Inn is currently open on the weekends, Friday through Sunday, at 4 pm.  

We wanted to learn more about this popular place to dine and play in the Port Austin Area, so we reached out with some questions. Here's what we learned.

  • How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
    • We wanted to offer a relaxing environment that allows out customers to be themselves around great food, great cocktails, and great people.
  • What makes your business unique/what do you love most about your business?
    • We base our uniqueness on a few different factors: We love giving back to our community. We are on our 23rd year supporting our local Relay for Life chapter. We enjoy our amazing partnerships with our local growers, this allows us to shake up our daily specials with fresh picked, local vegetables. We pride ourselves in our delicious hand-tossed pizzas, daily cooked ribs, and second generation french onion soup recipe.
  • What do you enjoy most about being a seasonal business in the Thumb?
    • As a seasonal business, we are able to start every year with new ideas. Each year brings a fresh start. Opening is like a family reunion, and we are blessed to see our returning customers each and every year.
  • When does your business open and close for the season?
    • We open in April and end our season in November.
  • What do you want tourists and potential customers to know about your business? 
    • We want our customers to stop in and experience our restaurant and enjoy the atmosphere and our great menu with different dishes to please your pallet that the whole family will enjoy. We are able to accommodate individuals, or large families and have a chat with our friendly team over your favorite craft brew or a cocktail.
  • Are you hiring? Would you like to provide instructions for people to apply?  
    • We are always looking for friendly Team members. Future team members can pick up an application at the Fireside Inn. Ask for Lisa! 

The Fireside Inn is located at 1146 Port Austin Road, Port Austin , MI 48467. Connect with the Fireside Inn on Facebook to follow along or learn more. 


Harbor Beach Kayak

Harbor Beach Kayak offers hourly rentals of kayaks and stand up paddleboards for exploring the harbor in Harbor Beach. The business has been around for several years, but is under new management beginning this year. 

We wanted to explore what else Harbor Beach Kayak had to offer tourists and residents so we reached out to learn more. 

  • What makes your business unique/what do you love most about your business?
    • What is unique about Harbor Beach Kayak is that the harbor offers a generally calmer kayaking location than the open waters of Lake Huron. For people who have never been on a paddleboard, the calmness of the harbor is a great place to try it out. Additionally, the Dorcas Pendell ship lies just under the surface of the water within the harbor, and is the most accessible, well preserved, shallow water shipwreck that is easily accessed by a kayak. 
  • When does your business open and wrap up for the season?
    • Harbor Beach Kayak will officially open for business Memorial Day Weekend as long as mother nature cooperates. The kayak stand on the north beach at the Lincoln Memorial Park will be staffed weekends until the weather warms up, then will be staffed throughout the week as well. The water stays pretty frigid until mid-late June, but kayaks will be available for those itching to venture out. Kayaks can also be rented outside of staffed times by calling 989-551-1314. For weather dependent Michigan businesses, there isn't a "typical" end to the summer season, but we tend to plan for the season to end Labor Day weekend, but could go longer if the weather permits. 
  • What do you want tourists and potential customers to know about your business? 
    • We want tourists to know that kayaking is fun, easy, and affordable. Harbor Beach is the most accessible place in Michigan to see a shallow water shipwreck from a kayak. 

  • Are you hiring? Would you like to provide instructions for people to apply?  

For more information visit harborbeachkayak.com and Harbor Beach Kayak on Facebook. Harbor Beach Kayak is located on the north beach at Judge James H. Lincoln Memorial Park


Pinnebog Creek Lavendar Farm

Pinnebog Creek Lavender Farm offers a unique seasonal agritourism experience for all ages. From early June through mid-August you can peruse fourteen different varieties of organically grown lavender, totalling nearly 4,000 plants! In addition to the gorgeous fields of lavender, they offer a lavender plant sale (until they're gone), cut-your-own bouquets, an artisan retail shoppe with a wide range of lavender products, tours of the farm and a demonstration of their oil distillation process (when available).

Coming into their third season of being open to the public, we thought we’d reach out to learn a little bit more about this unique seasonal business.

“The idea for the farm was born from a desire to repurpose our family's retired chicken farm. Lavender was at the top of our list of potential plants as it is one of the most widely used, versatile herbs known today (not to mention it is simply beautiful to see a field in bloom). Luckily our soil test came back perfect for lavender and the idea took off from there.

As a family run business, our individual skill sets blend well. My husband excels at growing, plant care, and harvesting, while our children and myself do product development, design, and marketing. To be honest, my husband and I came from corporate careers on the East Coast and weren't sure how the concept would go over in the area. We were pleasantly surprised by the interest, curiosity, and support we have received from locals as well as those traveling through the area during the summer months. We feel very knitted into the community as a result of all the amazing people that have come to the farm.”

A few things visitors may want to know:

  • Our artisan shoppe offers products we make from our harvest. Such as essential oil, bath and body, sachets, pillows, culinary, wreaths and more.
  • The very popular experience of cutting your own bouquets begins with the first bloom in the middle of June, (even though you may not see those early varieties blooming from the road). $6.00 for a large bouquet.
  • The biggest bloom time (when many varieties are blooming at once) begins the first week of July and continues for two weeks.  This is the best time to capture large landscape photographic opportunities.
  • We do not charge for people to visit the field and take pictures, but we do ask that people make arrangements ahead of time for formal pictures such as senior pictures or engagement photos.
  • We offer free pre-arranged group tours.
  • Hand harvesting begins the end of June and goes through the end of July. So, as the season goes on there is less lavender in the field. But don't worry, there's a lot to harvest by hand and it takes weeks!
  • Stop in for a complimentary lavender refreshment and a delicious cookie sample.  

Open to the public:

  • June 2nd and closing mid August (to be determined by harvest)
  • Wed, Thurs, Fri — Noon-6pm and Sat & Sun — 10am-5pm
  • We are closed Monday and Tuesday (appointments available)

Pinnebog Creek Lavender Farm is located at 2367 S. Van Dyke • Bad Axe, MI 48413, and can be seen from M-53, just look for the big purple flags across from Camper's Haven near Pinnebog Road.For more information, upcoming events and farm happenings you can visit Pinnebog Creek Lavender Farm on Facebook.


Port Hope Chill Zone

The Port Hope Chill Zone offers a wide range of ice cream and dessert products in downtown Port Hope. Customers have the opportunity to choose from 16 hand-dipped flavors they can enjoy in a regular cake cone, a waffle cone, cup, or blended into a shake. Any flavor of ice cream can also be layered in a sundae or banana split, sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies, or placed on top of a warm brownie. We also offer limited sugar-free and dairy-free options for customers with a more restricted diet.

  • How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
    • Summer is never quite the same without ice cream, and we wanted to be sure the people of Port Hope and the neighboring towns had a place they could go to kick back, relax, and enjoy a cone.
  • What makes your business unique/what do you love most about your business?
    • The Port Hope Chill Zone takes pride in offering families an affordable opportunity to not only enjoy ice cream, but an overall family-friendly experience. We enjoy being a part of the community, and many locals consider the staff a second family. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing small children get excited for their ice cream, or people gathered outside on the benches laughing and having a great time.
  • What do you enjoy most about being a seasonal business in the Thumb?
    • The best part of being a seasonal business in the Thumb is the connections we make not only with members of our community, but also the summertime visitors. It is always a joy to see the locals, who are often accompanied by visiting friends or family members. It is amazing to see the small town come to life in the summer. We can already feel the anticipation and excitement for the season to begin.
  • When does your business open and close for the season?
    • We are open weekends only starting Saturday, May 5, 2018 and will open every day after Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. We return to only weekends until the end of September.
  • What do you want tourists and potential customers to know about your business? 
    • On Thursday nights, starting in June, local musicians gather outside the Port Hope Chill Zone to play their instruments and sing a variety of songs. There are so many talented people in our community! “Thursday Night at the Zone” is a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to join in the musical fun. We also have several karaoke nights scattered throughout the season.
    • The Port Hope Chill Zone offers a wide range of flavors and products, as well as portion sizes. From the smallest Grandma-Grandpa-Baby cone, all the way up to the Triple Challenge, there is a size for everyone. Whether you are looking for just a taste, or if you want to take on the Triple Challenge to earn a spot on our wall of fame, you’re at the right place. Better yet, if customers enjoy their trip to the Port Hope Chill Zone, we reward them by offering Frequent Visitors cards. After ten visits, the next cone is on us, as a thank you for their support throughout the summer.

The Port Hope Chill Zone is located at 4450 Main Street in downtown Port Hope and can be found on Facebook at the Port Hope Chill Zone


Sebewaing Dairy Barn

The Sebewaing Dairy Barn has been a staple in the Sebewaing/Thumb area since 1970. Today it operates as a seasonal restaurant that offers lunch and dinner menu items including their popular broasted chicken in addition to a variety of ice cream desserts. 

  • What do you enjoy most about being a seasonal business in the Thumb?
    • We personally enjoy owning a seasonal business because it gives us time in the fall/winter to enjoy our kids and family. It's so very nice not having to drive in the snow! We also farm so having this seasonal business fits in well with our schedules as we are all home in the winter months.
  • When does your business open and close for the season?
    • We typically open beginning of May and close on Labor Day.
  • What do you want tourists and potential customers to know about your business? 
    • We are a great made to order take out restaurant. We have delicious food and great daily week day specials. We also do bulk orders of broasted chicken for parties. We have an old fashioned carport that you can pull up in your car and our servers will come out and take your order and you don't have to leave the comfort of your vehicle or you can sit outside on one of our tables and enjoy the nice summer air.
  • Are you hiring? Would you like to provide instructions for people to apply?  
    • We accept applications thru the summer and sometimes we hire mid season but tend to do most of the hiring before we open. Emailing is the best/easiest way to get an application sebewaingdairybarn@hotmail.com.

The Sebewaing Dairy Barn is located at 634 Unionville Road in Sebewaing, just a 1/4 mile south of the light on M-25. Just look for the red barn! You can connect with the Sebwaing Dairy Barn on Facebook or on their website at sebewaingdairybarn.com


Share your favorite seasonal businesses in Huron County and what you love about them in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading!